President Michael D Higgins has joined homeless people for a special ceremony to mark the bicentenary of Dublin’s oldest working charity.
The Mendicity Institution, which helps homeless people - mostly from eastern Europe - to find a better future with jobs, food, craft workshops and an employment and integration service, held the event at its headquarters at Island Street near Usher's Quay.
Mendicity workshop manager Chris Andrews said: "The people who avail of the services here in the Mendicity are in many ways the forgotten homeless".
"They are very much in the margins of society. The visit here by the President is going to be a signal to them that there is people listening. There is people working for them. There is people taking their side," added Mr Andrews.
Homeless men at the centre’s craft workshop made personalised greeting cards, a copper engraving of a harp, a flower box and a carved wooden picture of horse to present to President Higgins.
One of the men, Boris Georgiev from Bulgaria, said the President’s visit means "this man cares about us".
The Mendicity Institution’s food service is at its core since it began in 1818.
It serves 20,000 meals each year it and assists between 50 and 70 homeless people every day.
It also runs an employment integration service, which last year saw 1,700 appointments in Russian, Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian, and English.
Poverty of the 1800s is not entirely gone. Homelessness is a most important problem that needs to be solved. Providing housing cannot be left to marketplace, says @PresidentIRL at the @Mendicity1818 event to mark its 200th anniversary. @rtenews @morningireland pic.twitter.com/9mnjvQ5KK5— cian mccormack (@cian_mccormack) May 25, 2018
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85% of people using the services are eastern European.
The breakdown of the main language users are Romanian/Moldovan with over 800 visitors, Polish with around 650, and Lithuanian 150
Sixteen men work at its at craft based Community Employment Scheme and social enterprise, which is run with Casadh, and which encourages people with substance misuse problems in recovery through the provision of training, support services and after care.